Matching Talent with Local Nonprofits and Small Businesses That Offer Meaningful Part-time Employment
Building New Job Opportunities: We are hard at work with our partners developing additional job opportunities where older adults and people with disabilities can contribute their energy and expertise while staying safe. The dynamic SF Senior Beat online journal is one example. Stay tuned for more!
by John Edmiston
Jeff Vessels honorable served his country in the Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1986. He worked in administrative roles for a number of large companies for over two decades. But in 2010, Vessels had to leave the workforce due to ill health. When he tried to reenter the workforce a few years later, he found ageism and the gap in his work history was a major barrier to employment. Not giving up, he enrolled in a college degree program in Business Administration to sharpen his skills and become more competitive. Even so, by the time he heard about SF Reserve from attending a First Impressions presentation at a local community organization, he had been unemployed for eight years.
Through SF Reserve, Vessels was offered a position at FranDelJa Enrichment Center, a child day care center whose mission is to offer children and families of disenfranchised communities the resources to level the playing field of educational and social opportunity. Having worked for large corporations in the past, it was unlike any other job Jeff had ever had. “I never thought I’d be working with kids. But FranDelJa gave me a second chance at working again, at my age.”
As a Reservist, Vessels worked 25-30 hours per week and learned a lot about keeping kids safe, even before the pandemic struck in early 2019. FranDelJa, like other day care centers, had to close down for several months. Vessels helped prepare the center for reopening and, after three months, it was reopened safely following strict guidelines, including requiring masks and social distancing.
Working at FranDelJa has always been more than just a job to Vessels. He truly cares about the kids and believes in the mission of the organization. And they obviously feel the same way about him; in October 2021, FranDelJa Enrichment Center offered Vessels full time employment.
Cornell Cobbins, Site Supervisor, acknowledged that Vessels has been extremely valuable to the organization. “We’re small in numbers, and when you don’t have a lot of personnel, you come to depend on each other- you become more of a family than an employee. Jeff fit right in with his supportive attitude. At first, I didn’t even realize he wasn’t a FranDelJa employee, but a Reservist.
Cobbins wanted him to be part of the family in every way. “Jeff had to support several program leaders, each with different styles, and he was quick to adapt. He took on more than was asked with enthusiasm, and has learned all the requirements for early childcare systems, like documentation, rules and regulations. He takes the initiative, and has always signed up for additional employee trainings, even though he didn’t have to, which has allowed me to focus on other work. He’s also a great communicator.”
Vessels agreed with the sentiment. “They are a kind of family, and I have been included.”
Tracy List, Executive Director of FranDelJa, is also optimistic about the future as the pandemic begins to recede:
“The skills and experience that Jeff has brought to our organization has inspired us to seek a new Reservist. We are honored to be a part of the SF Reserve goal of connecting skilled people to the workforce again.”
For more information about the SF ReServe program, go to https://sfcommunityliving.org/opportunities/sf-reserve/
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you’re looking for work or looking to hire,
SF ReServe is here to help.
We talk with so many older adults and people with disabilities who want to find work and contribute to their communities. For some, this is imperative due to the high cost of living in San Francisco. But many aren’t sure where to look, or are hampered by ageism, ableism, and other barriers.
That’s where SF ReServe comes in. We’ve partnered with JobsNow!, Felton Institute’s SCSEP program, PRC, and Self Help for the Elderly to form the Work Matters Coalition. We’re working together to create a continuum of employment assistance and placements for older adults and people with disabilities.
Launched in 2017, SF Reserve matches talented, skilled older adults and people with disabilities with paid part-time and project-based work at local nonprofits and other community-based organizations in San Francisco. It’s a win-win! Organizations get the affordable and skilled help they need, while older workers and adults with disabilities get to put their experience and enthusiasm toward great causes.
Are You Looking for Employment?
If you are older than 60 years of age or an adult of any age living with a disability, you are eligible to apply for SF ReServe positions.
Does Your Organization Need Help?
San Francisco’s ReServe program is ready to get nonprofits and community-focused small businesses the help you need – efficiently and affordably.
Is your organization interested in potentially hiring a ReServist? Learn more about how the program works.
Ready to get started? Fill out the Partner Inquiry Form and we’ll match your organization’s specific needs to job seekers experience.